Addis ABABA, November 18 (Xinhua) – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Sunday announced regime sanctions on member countries that would fail to make their annual financial contributions to the continental body.
The set of sanctions, which included a total suspension of member states from the AU assembly and other meetings, were approved at the 11th extraordinary AU summit.
The two-day summit began on Saturday at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
"Today we have adopted a set of sanctions including a total suspension of member countries that can no longer participate in assembly meetings or African Union meetings," Faki told reporters.
The chairman stressed that "the first responsibility of member countries is to pay their contributions."
Noting that some member countries committed to doing so while others are currently evaluating "the most flexible way" to make the expected shares, Faki said that the 55-member union "wants to ensure that payments are paid on time."
"We cannot wait until the end of the financial year for payments to be made; there are sanctions," Faki said.
According to Faki, timely payments will ensure the sustainability and certainty of the AU's financial resources and operations.
The contribution of EU member countries to continental block budgets over the past few years has risen to 14 percent in 2017, up from only 3 percent in 2012, according to AU figures.
During the two-day AU assembly session, which primarily aimed to advance AU institutional reforms, African leaders considered a detailed proposal to make the AU Commission "a more effective and performance-based institution," according to the AU.
The AU's main funding proposal, which was approved during the 27th AU summit in Rwanda in 2016 which directs all member countries to apply a 0.2 percent levy on eligible imports from non-AU member states, is said to be the Union's main initiative to realize financial autonomy.
The financing proposal aspires to create a fair and predictable source of funding for the AU and to reduce dependence on partner funds, and includes 100 percent of the AU's operational budget, 75 percent of the program's budget and 25 percent of its peace funding.
During the 31st Session of the AU Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in July this year, the AU approved a budget of 681.5 million US dollars for the 2019 financial year.
The approved budget represents a record decline of 12 percent compared to previous years.
Budget 2019, excluding peace support operations, expects contributions from member countries to reach 66 percent while 34 percent is projected to be secured from development partners.